Wednesday, February 16, 2005

A couple of bands on the fledgling MoRisen label that probably deserve some attention:

I'm told that I'm the first blogger to talk about Elevator Action, which surprises me. I was initially intrigued by one of their mp3s, a song called Modern Sickness. It's not hugely different from songs by a lot of bands that have sprung up in the wake of the Strokes' success, but I took note that during the chorus, at the exact point where you'd expect some catchy little pop-punk hook, Elevator Action's lead singer instead decides to start screaming his lungs out. Always a good sign. Incidentally, I don't want that word "Strokes" to scare you really is a good tune.

More importantly, it lead me to their album It's Just Addiction. Where I discovered that Elevator Action are possessors of a seriously world-class lead singer (Eric Gilstrap, who can go from Bowie to Bonn Scott in an eyeblink) and a track called Come On, Hate Me which is my favorite song of the last week-or-so. It features an amazing Lydia Lunch impersonation on the chorus, presumably by their bass player Laurie Ruroden (who should -- hint hint hint -- sing more).

They've got great raw material (basically a blend of Bowie, early punk r.o.c.k., and AC/DC) and great snarly/snarky attitude. Ultimately it's going to come down to production (nothing exactly wrong with this album, but I think they can do better), songwriting (they need to up the quality about one notch), and a dedicated Johnny Thunders-style lead guitarist wouldn't hurt. But, It's Just Addiction is a verypromising start. Although the band say that their CMJ NYC show wasn't so hot, I'd guess that they can really rip shit up live on a good night.

Lurking on the MoRisen website are old friends Jennyanykind. I've written about them before, so I'll keep this brief. They do "American Rock" (The Band, Bob Dylan, etc.) about as well as it's been done, and their one major label album Revelater (quickly deleted and it now sells for like one cent, I kid you not) is an absolute lost classic of cosmic proportions. While I was initially resistant to his formulation, the Amazon reviewer who compares it to Pavement meets Creedence Clearwater Revival isn't actually that far off. From Revelater, here's You Better Get Right With God.

Jennyanykind just about disappeared from the national map after that, but kept on recording. Though they've pretty much ceased to operate at this point, their final album Peas and Collards is available from MoRisen. On it, Jennyanykind stretch out and loosen up (and they were already pretty loose to begin with). Most of the songs are at least four minutes plus, and the album definitely sounds better after you've had a shot or two of whiskey. It's got a nice relaxed, swampy atmosphere and I'm looking forward to listening to it this summer while sittin' in the back yard. From it, here's the great track Do You Feel Alright.

I mentioned it last time, but there's an amusingly awful old Pitchfork review of Revelater here, apparently written by Madelyn Murray O'Hare.

The Jennyanykind website is here, and they have some mp3s in the media section.

The Elevator Action website is here, and there's an mp3 there for a song not posted here.

MoRisen's website is here. Also, their catalog is on eMusic. TTIKTDA recently did a feature on their band The Talk who will be playing at SXSW this year.

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